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November 14, 2000 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: iCAST Dies; AtomFilms in Theaters

DAILY NEWS: iCAST Dies; AtomFilms in Theaters



by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

>>Another One Bites the Dust -- Goodbye iCAST; Fate of Shortbuzz Unclear


(indieWIRE/ 11.14.00) -- Another high-profile entertainment dotcom is
shutting down. In biz lingo, Internet financier and operator CMGI announced
yesterday its "intention to exit the operations of iCAST by the end of the
second fiscal quarter." In plain and practical English the statement is an
announcement that iCAST, a would-be destination for film and music
entertainment, will close.


"CMGI has determined it will exit the entertainment portal business,
represented by iCAST, by the close of its second fiscal quarter ending
January 31, 2000," the company indicated yesterday. The decision leaves the
site's movie section, anchored by its acquisition of Shortbuzz.com only a
few months ago, in question. It did not indicate the fate of Shortbuzz or
its filmmakers in yesterday's announcement, however at the time it announced
the Shortbuzz acquisition, iCAST clearly indicated that Shortbuzz maintained
non-exclusive rights to its library of 400 shorts.


iCAST was too have been a major entertainment player on the web, but parent
CMGI has had a disastrous time of late as its stock has crashed to serious
lows -- its stock has gone from $145.00 in early March to only $14.50 at
close yesterday. CMGI has been seeking a buyer for iCAST to no avail. While
it remains publicly committed to a sale, the New York Times reported today
that iCAST has let most its employees go.


Shortbuzz was founded by Robert and Dion Algeri in the Summer of 1999 and acquired by iCAST in August of this year. In a brochure distributed as
recently as this weekend at the current Shorts International Film Festival
and aimed at convincing filmmakers to sign with Shortbuzz, the site touted,
"Put your work on a site that will still be running tomorrow." It continued,
"Shortbuzz is now part of iCAST. This means that we're well backed and in it
for the long haul." [Eugene Hernandez]


[EDITORS NOTE: Shortbuzz co-founder Robert Algeri is one of nine
participants scheduled to take part in tonight's panel discussion at the
Shorts International Film Festival entitled, "Fate, Fear & Future of the
Internet." The seminar will be moderated by indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief Eugene
Hernandez.]

>>Atom Makes Deal with Illinois Multiplex to Put Shorts in Front of Features


(indieWIRE/ 11.14.00) -- AtomFilms has announced a plan to put short films
in front of theatrical feature films, striking a deal with an new Illinois
multiplex. The Century Theater CineArts 6 in Evanston will screen a new
short every two weeks, while the company's North Hollywood theater will
showcase up to 25 Atom shorts that will be screened for Academy Award
qualification.


"AtomFilms strives to provide the best exposure for its talented
filmmakers," commented Harry Warren, Atom's vice-president of broadcast and
theatrical distribution in a prepared statement. "Placing Atom shorts in
front of features rejuvenates this once popular outlet for short films,
returning this art to new audiences." [Eugene Hernandez]


[EDITORS NOTE: An exec from AtomFilms will participate in tonight's free
panel discussion at the Shorts International Film Festival in New York City
(at 7 p.m. at the Worldwide Plaza Cinemas, 50th St. and 8th Ave).]

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